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Pension concession 'not enough': Herald Express

The Torquay Herald Express has handed over a petition with 5,359 signatures to the Government in protest at the pensions system.

The petition was handed to veteran campaigner Jack Jones at a pensioner’s conference.

Editor Brendan Hanrahan pledged to continue the newspaper’s fight for justice for pensioners, and is urging the Government to determine pensions by inflation.

The newspaper began its campaign in June after the Government increased state pensions by just 75p.

Mr Hanrahan said: “We have a disproportionately large amount of pensioners here in Torquay. Out of 125,000 residents, 32,000 are retired.

“When the Government announced that pensions would only be going up by 75p, there was understandably a fair amount of outrage.”

Since then, the newspaper has printed a number of biting editorial pieces on the subject.

One reporter even lived as a pensioner for a week.

The editor explained: “Jeff Bolitho agreed to live for a week on just £67. He made it with about £3 to spare, but he had to go without any treats or luxuries.”

As well as signing the petition, readers have written hundreds of letters to the newspaper, giving their support to the campaign.

“We’ve had a very strong response – and not just from pensioners. People of all ages have stood up and said that the situation is wrong,” he said.

Despite Chancellor Gordon Brown agreeing to increase pensions by £5 across the board, the battle continues for The Herald Express and its supporters.

Mr Hanrahan said: “The purpose of our campaign has always been to get the Government to re-establish the link between pensions and inflation.

“Until that happens, we will continue in our efforts to get pensioners treated with a bit more dignity.”

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